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A fallout shelter is a specially designed enclosure that safeguards occupants from radioactive waste in case of a nuclear war.

Underground fallout shelters are made of steel and were built in the past as civil defense systems during the cold war.

Read on to learn more about how to find the closest underground shelters near you and how to locate shelter signs.

You’ll want to have a good survival kit you can take with you – Here’s an example of what an ultimate survival kit would look like.

Helpful resources:

How to survive a nuclear attack

If you’re wondering how a nuclear explosion would impact your area, here’s a helpful simulation map that allows you to plug in where you live and test different detonation spots to see what the fallout area would look like.


Find your nearest fallout shelter

While nuclear explosives are lethal, you’ll experience their effects the most if you’re stuck in a limited area.

According to safety experts, you can survive a nuclear attack by taking the right precautions. Of course, the chances of surviving are usually higher if there has been a prior warning from your government’s ballistic missile warning system.

To increase your chances, locate an underground shelter – like a fallout bunker.

If none are in sight, you can go find a secure building, like an elementary school, and move to the center inside as recommended by the government.

Make sure you’re away from tall, collapsing buildings, doors, windows, and outer walls for ultimate protection.

The only problem with this is its really not a safe option – even in the basement.

It’s better than nothing. But, really you want something underground and built for that purpose.

The best way to survive a bombing is by hiding inside a nuclear shelter. To do that, you must know the basic fallout shelter signs.

Overall, there are only three survival options when it comes to optimal protection: Underground Mines, Caves, and Government Bunkers.

More helpful reading:

Option 1: Underground Mines

With underground mines you have to be careful to make sure the air has sufficient oxygen and isn’t toxic.

People have died from asphyxiation by going into an underground mine that lacks oxygen. Also, if the mine has been unused for a while, it could be in danger of collapsing from the explosion since it hasn’t been reenforced for some time.

These aren’t the only dangers with abandoned mines, though. Here’s more.

If you still want to know where all the mines are located near you, here’s an interactive map that shows where Mineral Resource mines are all located.

Note that not every mine is underground since the map also shows surface operations.

You’ll want to make a list of the mines and go visit them to see which ones could be an option for you.


Mineral resource mines aren’t the only option, though.

Here’s another interactive map showing inactive metal mines. You’ll also have to determine which ones are surface or underground.


I don’t recommend going inside of them.

Let me recommend another option – one that will be better.

Option 2: Caves

The popular ones are probably going to be taken quickly in an emergency. You need the ones that aren’t well known.

A good place to start is by searching through this list of caves by state. While you’re searching, take note of how many visitors go to visit the cave each year.

Option 3: Government Bunkers

There are several problems with Federal bunkers. Not only will it likely be difficult to gain access, they are also likely to be quite far away from your location. You aren’t going to have a lot of time to find safety.

Quick access is key.

You need something that is right near you – not 15 or 20 minutes away.

That’s why you need to build your own underground bunker or shelter just in case.

Look out for warning alerts

Whenever a warning sign has sounded, you want to be well prepared. Search for fallout shelter signs and locations in advance.

If you can’t find one, your only option may be the basement of a secure building, school, or hospital. Remember, the flight time of any powerful explosion ranges between 20 to 40 minutes depending on a targeted area.

This means you won’t have much time to make last-minute preparations.

Understanding what to do when an emergency occurs is your best bet for survival. You’ll want to avoid hiding inside a car because radiation can penetrate glass and metal or in the normal parts of a building because of falling debris and glass.

What should I do if the only fallout shelter near me is quite far away?

Identify a proper structure near you and take yourself inside safely and immediately. If you live in a high target area that may be prone to attack, consider constructing bomb bunkers.

You can also check out fallout shelters for sale if you’re working on a budget.

Evaluate whether or not it will fit all your needs. These can be more cost-effective than building from scratch.

There are lots of things that can happen due to a nuclear explosion. What are these effects?

  • A pulse of thermal energy
  • A flash of light
  • A pulse of nuclear radiation
  • An air blast
  • A fireball, and
  • Radioactive fallout

The first three effects occur almost immediately because they move at light speed. Thermal radiation can last for some seconds and cause extreme burns miles away from the explosion site.

An air blast travels farther and causes tremendous damage during a bombing by collapsing weak buildings, toppling vehicles, and throwing debris around.

You can avoid these effects by identifying and hiding in fallout hideout locations.

If you can’t find any, there is always one near the president of your state. For instance, Washington DC has one if ever an attack is made and is designed protect key people from unexpected fallout, falling buildings, and other signs of war from either world or cold war.

Understanding fallout shelter signs

Underground fallout shelters are critical and can help you survive the initial signs and stages of a blast.

If you have to go inside a house, you want to make sure it’s strong enough. Close all doors and windows and seal off air conditioners. Fallout shelter signs are usually easily distinguishable and noticeable – buildings, school, and other infrastructure within the city.

According to the CDC (Center of Disease Control), removing your outer clothing in case of a nuclear explosion is important and doing so can clear away up to 90% of harmful radioactive material.

You also want to be careful when removing the clothes to avoid shaking radioactive dust loose.

Safe disposal practices

Put your clothes inside a container or plastic bag, seal, and place it away from pets or humans.

Take a shower while exercising caution to cover any open wounds. If you’re unable to shower, the CDC recommends that you should wash your face, hands, and any other uncovered area of your body at the sink.

Clean up

Where there’s no soap and water, wipe your uncovered body parts with wet wipes. Remember to blow your nose and the proper disposal of contaminated items as we’ve mentioned above.

What else should you do when stuck in fallout hideout locations?

Follow the latest updates through a hand crank emergency or battery-powered radio. Remember, making calls can be difficult during an emergency. Try communicating with your friends and loved ones through text messaging, social media platforms, or email.

Can you survive a nuclear bomb in a fridge?

The idea that humans can survive an explosive in a fridge was first shown in a movie scene.

However, studies performed by scientists show that you’d hardly survive something like this – especially when you’re very close to the detonation site. It is one of the many signs that you cannot survive this kind of explosion.

Does the US have underground bunkers?

There are several underground bunkers across the United States, in Washington D C the most, built during the cold war that are available in case of signs of war. Some of them were built in isolated mine shafts that have since been excavated.

The US, particularly Washington DC is most prepared for this since it is the biggest – and the capital of the country.

How long can you live inside a nuclear shelter?

According to some government manuals, you can live in a fallout shelter for approximately two weeks. However, the time it takes for radiation to fade varies between a few days to roughly two weeks.

What Should I Include in a Nuclear Disaster Survival Kit?

What should you include in a survival kit for a bombing?

It can happen anywhere without prior warnings and signs and the first few hours can be critical for your survival.

How do you prepare for like this?

Having a go-bag or supply kit at home or inside your car can come in handy.

I recommend something like these Ultimate Survival Kits

Having a fallout shelter map will also help you identify a hiding place easily and fast. Also, finding and responding to fallout shelter signs will be of huge help for your survival.

Let’s discuss the most important items to have in your survival kit.

  • Enough drinking waterwater is a critical component of the human body. While you can survive without food, it’s impossible to live without water.  If you’re fortunate enough to have found a fallout shelter for sale and gotten it all set up, chances are you already have enough water there. If you don’t have a bunker yet, you’ll need to store your supplies inside your nuclear survival kit.  Apart from drinking water, you’ll also need to clean the harmful components away which are why you should plan accordingly. According to safety experts, the best way to reduce the effects of a bombing is to take yourself in a safe place.  Sometimes you’ll have to travel long distances but if it helps you survive longer and guarantees safety, go for it. Remember, your food and water supplies should be well sealed to prevent radiation from penetrating through. Canned food is the best for emergency purposes but they usually take up lots of space inside your kit.
  • Pack MREs you may want to consider packing some meals ready to eat (MREs) as they take up less space in your survival kit. Many people prefer canned foods because you can eat them without having to heat them. MREs should be heated before consumption.
  • Source of heat – here, we also apply the rule of 3s. This means you can survive 3 hours when stuck in severe weather conditions. If you live in extremely cold areas you’ll need something to heat your surroundings.  You should include these inside your survival kit. You don’t want to start collecting heat sources in the middle of an explosion. Some of these sources include propane, kerosene, and candle heaters. Regardless of the resource you choose, it should be portable and easy to use.
  • First aid kit – remember to include prescription medicine for any medical needs you or your family members may have. Include multiple items to keep you going for several days. Nuclear wars can happen at the time you least expected it, and having a first aid kit ready at all times will do you a huge help.

Objectives of an ordinary first aid kit

There are three basic goals of a normal first aid kit; prevent infection, stop bleeding, and help in decontamination (removal of harmful substances).

For your survival first aid kit, you should include radiation poisoning prevention items.

Even when you know what supplies are inside your kit, having a first aid handbook helps you in the middle of a disaster. Here’s a list of items you should consider adding to your survival kit.

Radiation protection

  • Potassium Iodide tablets (KI03). Radioactive iodine is discharged in the air following a bombing. Once you inhale or ingest, your body absorbs it and this can cause thyroid cancer.
  • Dust masks
  • Iodine. This can be used as an alternative to KI03 tablets. Apply iodine to the skin around your abdomen to facilitate its absorption in your body. While it’s not as effective as KI03 tablets, it’s better than nothing.
  • Heavy-duty plastic waste bags. You’ll keep all your contaminated items and clothing here.

Non-prescription drugs

  • Eye Wash
  • Non-aspirin or aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Laxatives
  • Antacid
  • Rubbing oil
  • Hydrogen peroxide or antiseptic
  • Syrup of Ipecac and activated charcoal. You should only use these if and when advised by the poison control center within your locality.

Specific need supplies

While this isn’t a conclusive list, it’ll help you understand any specialized medical supplies you or your family members may need for survival. Put into consideration any existing medical issues you may have before concluding your list

  • Prescription glasses
  • Hearing aids and extra batteries
  • Contact cases, lenses, and bottles of solution
  • Diapers
  • Insulin and syringes
  • Asthma inhalers
  • Feminine products
  • Blood pressure and sugar monitoring tools
  • Minimum of a 14-day supply of prescription medication

Always store your first aid kit within easy reach but away from moisture. Apart from items that come with an expiry date, monitor your supplies regularly, and cycle them accordingly. Use and replace any items with a shorter expiration date to ensure you have safe, fresh, and effective items to make it through an emergency.

Light source

During emergencies like a bombing, chances are high that there’ll be an extended power blackout leaving you in the dark for some days. If you’ve got a generator in your bomb shelter you could be lucky.

Still, you’ll need to stock up enough fuel for your generator. If you don’t, you may want to prepare alternative power sources – such as solar. Always include a power blackout kit inside your survival bag. These can be,

  • Candles
  • Lighters
  • Flashlights
  • Chargers
  • Torches
  • Extra batteries


You’ll need tools for canned foods. A can opener will be ideal in this case. Still, you can opt for multi-tools. With these, you’ll be able to fix anything that needs to be attended to. As a survival enthusiast, it’s important to have a folding knife with you always.

There are many folding knives available in the market to choose from. Do your research and select one that best fits your needs. The tools you can carry depend on how much space you have in your survival kit.

Radiation detector

Once everything has settled down and you want to move out, it’s important to ensure that radiation levels are safe. The ideal radiation levels should be below 20rem. A radiation detector will help you figure these out. States often prepare this before and after a nuclear war.

Fallout Shelters

Often, public fallout shelter locations come with three upside triangles enclosed in a circle. This is the universal fallout shelter sign. They’re specially designed to accommodate up to 50 people in case of an emergency. However, some of them can accommodate hundreds of people. In big cities like Washington D C, New York, Chicago, there are several hideouts prepared and built beforehand.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommendations state that every occupant should have at least 10 square feet of room space. The organization also recommends a minimum of 6.5 feet headroom. This is recommended as shelter signs that can help you survive and last long.

How to find fallout shelters near me

The ideal place to begin your search is a fallout USA map. There are lots of interactive maps online that you can take advantage of to identify mineral reserve operations within your region. Some of these maps show all nonmetallic and metallic mineral reserves complete with the deposit name, commodity, and location. Washington D C usually offers shelters for it is the capital city of the United States.

You’ll even get references. All you need is to zoom in on your region and locate city bomb shelter locations within your state. However, it’s important to understand that not all results you’ll get from a map are a real underground mine. Some of them could be gravel pits and surface mining activities. You’ll need to research further to obtain conclusive information.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a fallout shelter?

Underground bomb shelter prices vary depending on their specifications. If you want a basic one designed to resist the effects of an explosion, you’ll spend at least $2,500 in materials. This cost can go up to more than $6,000 based on your construction materials. Building a first-class bunker will set you back around $10,000 or more. Some of the available government bomb shelters for sale can be cost-effective.

When is it considered safe after a nuclear bomb?

Fallout radiation decays fast with time. Depending on the area, residents may be allowed to go on with their normal lives after five weeks.

Why does snow form after a nuclear bomb explosion?

Nuclear bomb fallout is a leftover radioactive component discharged in the upper atmosphere after an explosion. It’s named so because it falls out from the sky once an explosion and shock wave has faded. Fallout refers to radioactive ash and dust generated following the explosion of a nuclear weapon.

Don’t wait until the last minute

One of the best strategies to survive a nuclear explosion is to take shelter and remain calm. You’ll survive a nuclear bomb attack by applying these tips today. Get on Google Maps and do some research.